Imagine yourself as a security personnel flanking a politician on stage, struggling to scan the crowd for his would-be assassin. You are, after all, in the noise and confusion of an Indian political rally, and the rough sketch released on an anonymous tip-off won’t match up with anyone’s darn face in that crowd.
Faced with the immediate prospect of a reputation-damaging assassination on your watch (and a kick down the ladder later), you bark like a distressed sergeant into that military-grade walkie-talkie for…glasses. Not reinforcements. Not backup. But smart glasses -- infused with artificial intelligence.
That’s right. Staqu Technologies Pvt. Ltd, a three-year-old Gurugram-based startup, has come up with packaged security solutions bundling software and smart glasses to look out for suspects in high-alert situations.
Consider an election rally, for example, where all security personnel are given smart glasses. These glasses use Wi-Fi or 4G to stream video to a small device stashed away in a security hub or a tent. The PC-like device is pre-fed the list of people it has to watch out for. So once the video is transmitted, the device tries to match faces in the live-stream with the pictures of suspects it has. In case the startup's artificial intelligence spots the would-be miscreant, the personnel wearing the smart glasses are immediately alerted by an image cast before their eyes.
The same artificial-intelligence software can be used with CCTV, cameras and devices in smart cities. In fact, the startup will work with the Dubai police next month for the deployment of security solutions.
Currently, the firm is working on bundling Sony's smart glasses with its software.
How the solution works?
"What we have done is create software that can be packaged into most hardware solutions such as smart glasses and CCTV cameras to change the dynamics of the security space," Atul Rai, co-founder and chief executive of Staqu, told TechCircle in an interview.
"The software, when integrated into any hardware, can run facial recognition and vision recognition algorithms to identify people in a crowd who might pose a risk for the people present or any VIP in the area. That means the solution can be used by security personnel in the government, by police forces in election rallies or during a VIP visit or by defence agencies," Rai explained.
Explaining how his company arrived at the product, Rai said initially they worked with police forces from different states to help them bring their data on criminals online via a product called Abhed. "We started mapping the data online for different state police forces such as Rajasthan, Haryana and Uttarakhand in June 2017," he said, adding that data included profiles of criminals and their social media accounts.
Once the data was in the digital format, Rai said they trained their artificial intelligence engines to run through the information to identify criminals. Once that was done, Rai said they created a piece of software, complete with algorithms, to run on smart hardware.
"If the software is fed a list of people it has to look out for during an event or VIP visit, it can identify them even if they are in disguise," Rai said.
Founded by Rai, Anurag Saini (tech chief), Chetan Rexwal (product vice-president) and Pankaj Sharma (engineering vice-president), the firm was incorporated in 2015. Rai has specialised in artificial intelligence from the University of Manchester and his experience in computer vision and machine learning spans five years. Saini holds expertise in mobile app development on Android and iOS. He has served clients such as Motherson Sumi INfotech & Designs Ltd and Bennett Coleman and Co. Ltd, and was the lead developer for MagicBricks' app. Rexwal has developed Android applications for Micromax, Karbonn and Panasonic, while Sharma has developed applications for a number of startups, including Zomato.
Staqu, which had raised an undisclosed amount of funds from Indian Angel Network (IAN) in 2016, was also among the top four startups selected for IBM's Global Entrepreneur Programme as part of their Smart Camp challenge.
The funding round was led by Bikky Khosla, Neeraj Singal and Ajay Gupta on behalf of IAN. Khosla joined the board of directors of Staqu after the investment.
Rai said the company hasn't raised any funds after the IAN infusion but was looking at a Series A round.